Kamuiwakkayu Falls is a waterfall on the Kamuiwakka river, located in Hokkaido’s Shari-cho area.Kamuiwakka is a word in the Ainu (*1) language that means “heavenly water”. Different from most waterfalls, the water here is warm since it originates from a natural hot spring, and the basin of the waterfall turns into an open-air bath where visitors can sit and relax. In the summer months many visitors converge on this popular hot spring area.To reach the falls directly, it’s necessary to walk upstream in the Kamuiwakka river. However, the riverbed is extremely slippery so visitors must bring proper shoes to prevent slipping and sliding (straw sandals or other similar footwear).Also, the Shiretoko region is a natural habitat for the brown bear, so don’t forget to take the necessary precautions when visiting here. At the Shiretoko National Park Nature Center near the falls, they have bear spray which is essential when going out into the woods.There’s one road that leads to Kamuiwakkayu Falls, but it’s only open during the summer. In 2017, the road will be open for use from June 1st to the latter part of October. Every year from November until the end of May in the following year, the road is closed and there’s no access to the falls.So for those interested in seeing Kamuiwakka Falls, please make a plan to visit Hokkaido sometime during the spring to early autumn period. *1 Ainu: they are the indigenous people living in Hokkaido. The Ainu language is their spoken language. The names of many places in Hokkaido have their origins in the Ainu language.The Shari-cho area where Kamuiwakka Falls is located also includes the western part of the Shiretoko region, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Shiretoko Goko Lakes (Shiretoko Five Lakes), Shiretoko Pass and Cape Puyuni are all blessed with gorgeous scenery, and are just a few of the many local highlights. So if you have plans to visit the falls, be sure to make time for these other beautiful spots as well.You May Also Like:Japanese Nature Sites You Must See Once In Your Lifetime4 World Heritage Sites You Must Visit in Your Lifetime! (East Japan Edition)Characteristics and Benefits of This Hot Spring WaterThe main feature of the falls’ water is its sulphuric content, said to have medicinal benefits for skin conditions such as cuts and burns. Though sulphur hot springs can be good for your health, the water is highly acidic, so avoid getting the water into your eyes or other mucous membranes. It also might be a good idea to avoid the water if you have any open cuts or very sensitive skin.Getting to the Falls from Other Places in HokkaidoNext we’ll give you information on access to Kamuiwakkayu Falls from various locations in Hokkaido. The closest station to Kamuiwakkayu Falls is JR Shiretoko-Shari Station, so first we’ll explain how to get there.For detailed information on how to get from Tokyo to various places in Hokkaido, please have a look at the following article, Ways To Travel From Tokyo To Hokkaido! A Thorough ComparisonAccess from Sapporo (By Train)For starters, from JR Sapporo Station take either a JR Limited Express Okhotsk Train or a Limited Express Super Ozora Train, and go as far as Abashiri Station. At Abashiri Station transfer to the Senmo Main Line headed for Kushiro and get off at Shiretoko-Shari Station. Estimated travel time is six hours and thirty minutes, and the one-way fare is 11,310 yen.Access from Asahikawa (By Train)From Asahikawa Station take the JR Limited Express Taisetsu Train bound for Abashiri, and get off at Abashiri Station. At Abashiri Station take the JR Senmo Main Line headed for Kushiro, and get off at Shiretoko-Shari Station. Estimated travel time (including transfer time) is five to seven hours, and the one-way fare is 8620 yen.Access from Kushiro (By Train)From Kushiro Station, take the JR Senmo Main Line headed for Abashiri, and get off at Shiretoko-Shari Station. Travel time is two hours and twenty minutes, and the one-way fare is 2810 yen.Getting to Kamuiwakkayu from Shiretoko-Shari Station (By Bus)First get on board a shuttle bus at the Shari Bus Terminal (right in front of Shiretoko-Shari Station) and get off at the Kamuiwakkayu Falls bus stop.Estimated travel time is fifty minutes and the one-way fare is about 2000 yen. It’s ten minutes on foot from the bus stop to the falls.Kamuiwakkayu Falls TourShiretoko Arpa Company Limited is the travel agency that currently operates day trips to Kamuiwakkayu Falls.Shiretoko Goko Lakes (Five lakes) + Kamuiwakkayu Falls Tour When visiting Kamuiwakkayu Falls, it’s also worth seeing the other scenic spots nearby. In the Shiretoko area there are eight famous sightseeing spots, known as Shiretoko Hakkei. In addition to Kamuiwakkayu Falls, the other chosen members of the Eight Views of Shiretoko are Oshinkoshin Falls, Oronkoiwa Rock, Yuhidai (sunset) Point, Cape Puyuni, Frepe Falls, Shiretoko Pass and Shiretoko Goko Lakes. Each spot offers you stunning scenery courtesy of the surrounding nature.Also, there are sightseeing boats that leave from Utoro harbor, another place known for its scenic splendor. From aboard the boat you can see Cape Puyuni, Frepe Falls and Kamuiwakkayu Falls (the falls that are located downstream from the main falls). There’s also a more adventurous tour where visitors can get a close-up view of Frepe Falls (also known as Otome no Namida, or the Virgin’s Tears), and other sights while navigating a sea kayak.At Shiretoko Pass and in the nearby mountains, trekking and wildlife watching are popular activities. For information please check the following: Shiretoko Shari-cho Tourist Association.Also for detailed information on how to enjoy an onsen (hot spring), please see this article, Bath Culture In Japan: What Every Visitor Should Know Ahead Of Time .**Travel times, transportation costs and other additional fees are based on information listed in the respective official home pages. This information is correct at the time of writing, March 2017. Please note that this information is subject to change. Shiretokosharimachi Sight Seeing Information Center View Informationtravel_agencyYou May Also Like:Hokkaido Travel Guide: Sightseeing Spots, Events, Weather and More!Sapporo Travel Guide – Access, Local Food, And 17 Sightseeing SpotsHokkaido’s Weather And What To Wear During Your Trip Toyako Onsen In Hokkaido – Access, Hot Springs And InnsFour Famous Sakura Viewing Spots In HokkaidoWays To Travel From Tokyo To Hokkaido! A Thorough Comparison This is a tour that takes visitors to Shiretoko Goko Lakes and Kamuiwakkayu Falls. At Shiretoko Goko Lakes, you’ll have an opportunity to see various wild animals including the Hokkaido squirrel and the Hokkaido Sika deer. While leading the participants, the guide also makes sure to keep their requests in mind, so the tour itinerary is a flexible one.Another great feature of the tour is their shuttle bus service that takes visitors to and from their place of accommodation, and also to and from the JR station. The required time for this tour is about six to seven hours.Price: 12,000 yen (plus tax) per person when booked for one person only.Reservations: *Please make them by 18:00, at least two days prior to the tour.Tour season: From June until OctoberWebsite: Shiretoko-Arpa Co., Ltd.Recommended AccommodationsRoute-Inn Grantia Shiretoko-Shari EkimaeThis hotel is ideally located just one minute on foot from Shiretoko-Shari Station. Access from here to Shiretoko’s main sightseeing spots is outstanding. The hotel’s large bath features water that’s fed directly from the nearby hot spring, so you won’t have any problems recovering from your travel fatigue.Address: Hokkaido, Shari-gun, Shari-cho, Minato-machi 16-10Website: Route-Inn Grantia Shiretoko-Shari Ekimae (Japanese)Shari Daiichi HotelThis hotel is conveniently located two minutes away on foot from Shiretoko-Shari Station. The hotel’s restaurant is famous for its menu that takes advantage of fresh, locally grown vegetables and seafood caught in the nearby ocean. They also have a reasonably priced room plan (about 6000 yen) that includes both breakfast and dinner. This is a convenient lodging facility that can serve as your base of operations for your Shiretoko sightseeing.Address: Hokkaido, Shari-gun, Shari-cho, Minato-machi 14-11Website: Shari Daiichi Hotel (Japanese)Camp ClioneCamp Clione offers accommodation just 10 minutes away on foot from Shiretoko-Shari Station. From private rooms to shared dormitory-style rooms, all the way to cottages and bungalows, there’s a wide variety of accommodation options to suit the needs of every visitor. Reservations aren’t required for the shared dormitory rooms, but they are required for the other room options. Generally speaking, guests are responsible for their own meals, and many do their own cooking.Address: Hokkaido, Shari-gun, Shari-cho, Nishi-machi 4Website: Camp ClioneKamuiwakkayu Falls: Nearby Sightseeing and Activities What is Kamuiwakkayu Falls?
For all of you who are fans of Great Buddha statues, you probably know about the Daibutsu in Kamakura and the one at Tōdaiji Temple in Nara. But did you know that the world’s third largest bronze Buddha statue is just approximately 2 hours away from central Tokyo? It’s true!The Ushiku Daibutsu (牛久大仏), located in Ushiku, Ibaraki prefecture, is a statue representing Amida Buddha, towering a full 120 meters into the sky and weighing 4 tonnes. If you compare the size of this statue with the one of the Nara Daibutsu, which is 14.9 m, one can say that the Great Buddha in Nara fits in the Ushiku Buddha’s palm of the hand!To actually get an impression of how large this statue is, you should go see it with your own eyes! Especially when surrounded by blooming flowers, it looks very impressive.The Great Buddha in SummerFrom spring to late summer you can stroll through the flower garden located at the bottom of the Buddha statue. The flowers vary from month to month: in April you can enjoy the cherry blossoms under the protective gaze of the large Ushiku Buddha, in May there will be California poppies, while in September and October the garden will be filled with cosmos flowers.For 100 yen you can even pick up to 10 flowers on your own and take them home with you!There is also an Animal Park nearby, with squirrels, rabbits and goats. They hold monkey performances as well and the entrance fee is included in the ticket for the garden!Discover the Inside of the Ushiku DaibutsuFor a little extra money you can also visit the Ushiku Daibutsu statue on the inside. You will start your tour of the statue by going 85 m up by elevator. A replica of the Great Buddha’s big toe.Every floor has something different on display. For example, you can look at the exhibition about how the Buddha was built, and see even a replica of the Buddha’s big toe.On the 5th floor there is an observatory, where you can look outside through small slots in the Buddha’s chest, arms and back to all the four cardinal directions. From there you will fave a nice view over the flower garden and of the wide graveyard which surrounds the statue.There are many small Buddha statues displayed on the inside of the Daibutsu.The Ushiku Daibutsu is even listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the highest bronze statue in the world! When it was completed in 1991, it was the world’s tallest statue.Where to Find the Great Ushiku BuddhaUshiku is a small, quiet town with beautiful nature, where one can calm down and relax, away from busy Tokyo and its crowded sightseeing spots. Around the Great Buddha you might not see many foreign visitors and I think I know the reason why. It is indeed a little adventurous to get there, because the bus only runs once every hour on weekdays, and twice on holidays or weekends. If you don’t want to wait too long for the bus to bring you to the Great Buddha and back, a little time management is required, but other than that there is no obstacle for you to enjoy this impressive Daibutsu statue and its beautiful flower garden.My only advice: don’t miss the last bus, if you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a taxi!
Originating over four hundred years ago, kabuki is a traditional form of theater that is still popular today. These performances entertain the audience through combining the three elements of acting, dancing, and music.The Beginnings of KabukiThe origins of kabuki lie in the Edo period, with one woman, who developed a new form of dance called kabuki odori. This name, said to come from the word kotobuku, which can mean avant-garde and convention-breaking, quickly spread and became the term for a type of popular theatrical performance. However, sometime later women were banned from performing out of fears for public morality.This tradition continues today, with only men taking to the kabuki stage. Even women’s roles are played by male actors, called onnagata. These actors’ excessively feminine movements and expressions create the illusion of femininity, and are one of the highlights of any kabuki performance.The Secret of Kabuki’s SuccessPhoto from You Don’t Always Need Tickets To Enjoy The KabukizaUnlike modern theater, kabuki-style acting does not attempt to appear natural or realistic. In fact, it puts emphasis on over-exaggeration. From the unique outfits and disheveled wigs to the wide-eyed glares, distinct movements and poses – everything is exaggerated, and everything has impact.Another well-known characteristic of kabuki is the actors’ make up, called kumadori. In fact, just by looking at a particular actor’s face, you can tell whether he is a good guy (red-striped make up) or a bad guy (blue-accented make up).Over the years, much effort has also been put into the stage and props used in kabuki. For example, there is the hanamichi (“flower path”), a part of the stage which extends into the audience. Then there is the mawari butai, or “revolving stage”, which slowly spins around in accordance with the changes of scene.What’s more, both the background music and sound effects are played on traditional Japanese instruments, and from certain parts of the audience you can see the musicians performing – make sure to keep an eye out from where you’re seated!Where can I see Kabuki?If you are in Tokyo, you can see Kabuki all year round at the Kabukiza Theater in Ginza, to name but one arena. If you are in Osaka, Kyoto, or elsewhere, performances take place regularly at fixed times. Tickets can be bought in person at the theater counter, online, or through phone reservations.Photo from: How to Enjoy Ginza: Get Off at the Right StationAs is the case with opera and other types of theater performance, kabuki is more enjoyable if you have some background knowledge about the story and characters. Once you have decided which show you want to watch, make sure to do some research before you go. The leaflets found in theaters can be treasure-troves of information, with explanations about the general plot, highlights, music, and character cast.Even many Japanese people find the prospect of going to a kabuki performance quite daunting – but it was originally a form of entertainment for ordinary folk. Throughout its history, kabuki has incorporated new ideas while protecting its tradition to become the refined performance it is today. Make sure to see a show next time you’re in Japan!
Oita Specialty Shop, Onsenza: Full of Hot Spring GoodnessOita prefecture located in the Kyushu area is a famous place known for their hot springs. It is also the number one place in Japan with natural hot springs. Frequently referred to as Oita, the hot spring prefecture, it is home to famous hot spring towns like Beppu and Yufuin.For more details on touring around Oita, please check out MATCHA’s Oita Special Feature. You can also purchase the Jigoku Mushi Tamago (Hell steamed egg) made using the steam generated by the hot springs. The shop imports the springs water from Beppu in order to make the steam for the eggs. Here, you will be able to taste the authentic flavor of the eggs which can be typically experienced only in Beppu.Unlike standard boiled eggs, the Jigoku Mushi Tamago smell like the hot springs when you remove the egg shell. The egg is also steamed instantly in hot water, so the flavors are kept inside, producing a bolder tasting egg.Stay Dry! Experience the Beppu Hot Springs at the Foot Bath At the foot bath, there were plastic socks so you can bathe while wearing socks and stockings on.When you actually stick your feet in the water, it only takes a few minutes until it becomes so warm you’ll be sweating. The hot springs help the flow of blood and relieve swelling. It is a perfect place to take a break while traveling. Aside from the Oita Specialty Shop Onsenza, you can find out more about the hot spring prefecture at Asakusa’s Marugoto Nippon. Why not experience Japan while relaxing in a foot bath during your visit to Ginza, Asakusa and other great tourist spots? おおいたアンテナショップ温泉座 View Informationstore Beauty products using the hot springs as the main ingredient will allow you to feel the effects of the Oita hot springs. Not only do they help you recover from fatigue, but the hot springs can help your skin’s condition as well. At the Oita Specialty Shop Onsenza, there is a footbath you can enjoy for free. Three to four people can join the bath at once so groups are more than welcome. During off-peak times on weekdays and in the mornings, you can comfortably bathe for around 10-15 minutes. A bath salt called Aruji no Hitousen was created using the waters of Oita’s Beppu hot springs. By melting the bath salt in your tub, you can enjoy a similar quality of water like that at Beppu hot springs right at home. The kabosu citrus is a local product in Oita. In Japan, it is frequently savored with grilled fish and sashimi. In fact, 90% of kabosu citrus distributed in Japan are produced in Oita. At the Oita Specialty Shop Onsenza, you can find many kabosu citrus products.This time we tried the kabosu citrus soft serve ice cream. It had the distinctive tartness of the citrus while having a nice sweetness.Experience the Charm of the Hot Spring Region in Tokyo The Oita Specialty Shop, Onsenza in Ginza is an antenna shop (a tourism and local specialty spot) filled with the best of Oita, all the while being in Tokyo. Aside from being able to purchase local products of Oita, you will even be able to experience the charms of the hot springs of Oita here too.Enjoy Products From Beppu Hot Springs in GinzaHot spring goods are highly recommended of course. At Oita Specialty Shop, Onsenza you can find many products related to the Beppu hot springs. Let us introduce you to some of the more popular items in the shop.
Jewelry making classes × Shop × Cafe “art Smith”The store, “art Smith”, serves both as a space for a Jewelry making class and a display store. Inside are not only works of the owners the three original brands,”H×S”, “HELLTER SKELTER”, and “Sara”, but also other selected works from other Japanese designers.The most recommended works are from the Original Brand, “Sara”. The name “Sara” comes from a jewelry term which means pure silver. All of the works are handmade from pure silver. Since the pieces are made one by one without using replicas, every piece is unique and you can feel the warmth of the handmade work.The classes are 3,000 yen per class,and you can try making any item you want.(It may take multiple classes to finish, depending on the design or item.) But good news here, if you sign up for the “Tyoukin trial course”, where you’re able to create your own ring for only 1,000yen! You can’t choose anything but a ring, but for any one who wants to take a try, or start out with something easy, this course should be perfect. Of course, once you make the ring, it’s yours forever. Wear it and take it home with you.When you hear “silver-chasing classes”, you may imagine being taught be an old strict skilled man. However, the atmosphere in this store is so comfortable that it is not even close to that typical image, and the price is very affordable for beginners.How an original ring is made in the trial courseThe first thing you do in the class is to measure your ring size, followed by this chasing process;Cut a stick of silver into your ring size with a fretsawPass the piece over a flame so that it’s easier to work withSlowly form the soft silver into a ring shapeJoin the ends with some silver wax(which is a binding material that melts easier than silver)Adjust the ring into the shape you preferPolish up with the special machineDone!How much time it takes differs from person to person, but on average it takes about an hour.Left：Example of an final product Right：A couple who tried the courseThere’s no way you can miss this chance where you can experience metal chasing for this price, with an original ring to bring back home!The owner, Sawada-san. He gives great easy classes for beginners. In person he is a very friendly guy, but when it comes to chasing, he’s all professional.Take a break with coffee after classThe store also has a counter-style cafe built in it. You can enjoy coffee for 300yen(with tax) after class while gazing at your own work that you just finished. They also have some rare beers from all over the world ready, so you can have a drink with other participants!From the consumer to the creator, “art Smith” brings out the creative side of every person involved. Why not experience the joy of creation in the historic and creative city of Kyoto.InformationStore：art SmithAddress：122Grandcosmo Demachi 103 Aioicho Kyoto-shi Kyoto（1F）Open：13:00〜21:00Open all yearWi-Fi network：Not availableCreditcard：AccepttedLanguage dealt：Japanese onlyOther languages avilable:noneClosest Station：Keihan Dentetsu Demachiyanagi(出町柳)Access：5min walk from Demachiyanagi Station. Enter the Demachiyanagi shopping street and take the first corner.Price range：Trial class 1,000yen/class、jewelry class3,000yen/class、coffee 300yen eachReligion：UnknownPhone：080-7013-3123Official HP：art Smith Have you ever heard of the term “Tyoukin(彫金)” or “chasing” in english? It is a technique used to ornament jewelries like rings and necklaces by engraving or embossing. There is a store in Kyoto Jyokyo-ku, Demachiyanagi area where you can experience this making process, and even make your own piece of jewelry.
At Kanda Myojin, the god Onamuchi-no-mikoto, who is often equated with the god of Izumo Taisha Tokyo Branch Shrine, Okuninushi-no-mikoto, is enshrined.Onamuchi-no-mikoto and Okuninushi-no-mikoto are both often referred to as Daikoku-sama , and it is here at Kanda Myojin that the largest statue of Daikoku-sama can be found. Coming to this shrine is sure to help your love life!Address: Tokyo, Chiyoda, Sotokanda 2-16-2Phone: 03-3254-0753Access: 5-minute walk from the Hijiribashi Exit of Ochanomizu Station, JR Chuo/Sobu lines, or a 5-minute walk from Shin-Ochanomizu Station on the JR Keihin Tohoku and Yamanote linesWebsite: Kanda MyojinRead also:Kanda Myojin – A Famous Shrine Near Akihabara There are over 1,000 shrines in Tokyo alone, each being home to different deities that are said to grant favor to those who make offerings at their respective shrines. In this article, we’ll take a look at five different shrines, all of which are said to be especially powerful for those seeking luck in romance and other affairs of the heart.1. Tokyo Daijingu ShrineFrom: photo.ktdm.jp on flickrTokyo Daijingu in the Chiyoda ward of Tokyo, is a branch shrine of Ise Shrine in Mie prefecture which was founded in 1880. As a result, the deities enshrined here are the same as at Ise Shrine: Amaterasu-o-mikami, Toyoke-no-o-kami, and Zokasanshin.It is also known as a shrine where the first Shinto wedding ceremony in Japan (a wedding held in front of deity in the shrine) was held, which secured its position as being a shrine that aids in the fulfillment of love and helps those looking to find their perfect match.The vast majority of visitors to this shrine are women, which is another rarity in Japan.Address: Tokyo, Chiyoda, Fujimi 2-4-1Phone: 03-3262-3566Access: 5 minute walk from west exit of JR Iidabashi Station, Chuo/Sobu lines, or 5 minute walk from the A4 exit of the Tokyo Metro Tozai, Toei Oedo linesWebsite: Tokyo Daijingu2. Imado ShrineFrom: Imado Shrine: Find Love At The Home Of The Maneki-nekoImado Shrine is found in Imado, in the Taito ward of Tokyo, a short walk away from Asakusa.The first thing you will notice here are the cats; cat statues and other items can be found throughout the grounds of this shrine. While the maneki-neko, or lucky cat, can be found throughout Japan, many believe that Imado Shrine was the birthplace of the maneki-neko itself.The two creator gods, Izanami and Izanagi, of Japan, who are also the first married couple in Japanese belief, are both enshrined at Imado Shrine. Because of this, Imado Shrine is also known as a power spot when it comes to love-related prayers.Address: Tokyo, Taito, Imado 1-5-22Phone: 03-3872-2703Access: 15 minute walk from Asakusa Station, Tokyo Metro Ginza LineWebsite: Imado Shrine3. Izumo Taisha Tokyo Branch ShrineFrom: Kentaro Ohno on flickrAccording to Shinto, Japan’s native beliefs, the spirit of a deity can be divided into uncountable parts. At Izumo Taisha Tokyo Branch Shrine the spirits of the gods worshiped at the main Izumo Taisha Shrine are divided once more and enshrined in a process called “bunshi” in Japanese.One of the main gods of Izumo Taisha is Okuninushi-no-mikoto. According to legend, he was quite the playboy, who fell in love with numerous different goddesses in Japanese mythology. If you are someone wanting to find love in a great way, or looking to meet a love of potential partners, then a visit to this shrine just might help you on your way.Address: Tokyo, Minato, Roppongi 7-18-5Phone: 03-3401-9301Access: 1 minute walk from Exit 2 of Roppongi Station, Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line, or a 3 minute walk from Exit 7 of Roppongi Station on the Toei Oedo LineWebsite: Izumo Taisha Tokyo Branch Shrine4. Hie ShrineFrom: Yusuke Kawasaki on flickrHie Shrine is a shrine located in the political heart of Japan, Nagatacho.Much like Imado Shrine, the main trait of Hie Shrine is the depiction an animal throughout its grounds, although in this case, the animal is a monkey. In Japanese, the character for monkey can be read as “en” which, when written with another character, means the “relationship or connection between people”. As a result, Hie Shrine eventually became known as a shrine that aids in relationships or encounters between people.Address: Tokyo, Chiyoda, Nagatacho 2-10-5Phone: 03-3581-2471Access: 3 minute walk from Exit 2 of Akasaka Station on the Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line, or a 3 minute walk from Exit 7 of Tameikesanno Station on the Namboku/Ginza linesWebsite: Hie Shrine5. Kanda Myojin (Kanda Shrine)
Read also:Use the Tram to Tour Nagasaki, the City of SlopesThe 380 Years of History Surrounding DejimaDejima is an artificial island that was built back in 1636. In the Edo period, Christianity was banned from Japan. So Dejima was built in order to separate the Japanese from the Portuguese who lived in Nagasaki. At the time, Dejima was an island on its own but is now connected to the rest of Japan.Before long, the Dutch East Indian Company opened up an office on Dejima. Because in the Edo period Japan restricted its trade relations with other countries, Dutch and East Asian trading ships were the only ships allowed to lower their anchors there. It was Japan’s one and only trading port.At the end of the Edo period and towards the beginning of the Meiji period (1868-1912) reconstruction of buildings and the reclamation of land took place. Dejima became buried under all the reconstruction. For those interested in seeing what Dejima looked like back in the Edo period, a scale model of the area from that time period is displayed in a garden at Dejima.Reconstructed Stores and Houses of the Edo PeriodCurrently, you can experience the atmosphere of what Dejima was like when traders from the Netherlands first stepped foot there.This colorful building covered in blue is the old Dejima seminary, which is a Christian theological school. It might not look like it, but it’s actually the oldest Protestant seminary in existence in Japan today.This English style building with striking green pillars is the old Nagasaki Home and Abroad Club.In the skipper’s room of the Number 1 Boat, which was the home that the captain of the Dutch ship lived in, you can try on some traditional Japanese clothes. Taking a picture and having a stroll around Dejima in a kimono seems like it’d be a lot of fun, doesn’t it?The Mysterious Living Spaces of Edo – A Blend of Japanese and Western StylesThe green exterior and striking design are the distinguishing features of this building known as the Captain’s Home. Back in the Edo period, this building was used by the head of the Dutch factories.On the 2nd floor you can take a look at a room that has been recreated to look the same as it did when still in use. A carpet has been placed on top of the tatami and furniture such as tables and chairs have been placed on top of the carpet. It’s a blend of Japanese and Western styles that makes for a bit of an odd environment.In this room you can see what it was like when they held a party. There are meat dishes with bread and wine lined up on the table, slightly different to what Japanese people ate back then.On the 2nd floor of the Skipper’s Room of the Number 1 Boat, there’s no futon. A bed is placed directly on top of the tatami. You can see that the traders from the Netherlands brought their European lifestyles with them.Medicine and Culture – The Technology of DejimaThis is the old stone storehouse, a rather profound building built at the end of the Edo period (as its name implies) out of stone. Nowadays this building is used to exhibit a number of items that have been unearthed in Dejima.The tableware here is Arita porcelain. Within the traditional Japanese design, you can see the letters VOC, which is short for the Dutch East Indian Company. These plates are fairly unique, as they blend together both European and Oriental designs.You can see a number of books on display such as the New Book of Anatomy, which was the first book released in Japan about European medicine. You can also see a dictionary on display that was used when translating Dutch into Japanese. By having a look at the books on display, it becomes clear that Dejima was the area that was at the forefront for gathering a wide variety of information.Among the daily items and literature on display is a pistol that was no doubt used for self-defense. By looking at the pistol you can just imagine the trade that took place and also get a vivid image of what the area in where people lived was like at the time.In ClosingThe area surrounding Dejima has changed quite a bit due to the development of the land. Having said that, everything from reconstructed stores and shops from the Edo period to the blend of Japanese and European cultures can be seen throughout this island. From this small island, you can feel the adventurous spirit in the history of trade that brought together Europe and East Asia.By all means, visit Dejima and experience the 380-year story that this island holds. In the city of Nagasaki, close to the center where streetcars run, is an area that seems to appear out of nowhere. It’s an area that looks as if it’s from Japan’s Edo period (1603-1868). This area is known as Dejima. It was an area built specifically for Japan and Holland to be able to carry out trade relations. The buildings from that time period are slowly being restored now. Take a stroll among these buildings and you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped back in time. We’re going to introduce the must visit areas in Dejima, the former stage for trade relations.
The bus stops at predetermined feeding spots where you can feed the different kinds of animals. The source of the hot spring is located right next to the inn, making it possible to constantly enjoy the fresh flowing hot waters. And since the waters of Yanagiya contain skin beautifying ingredients, it has gained popularity among beauty-conscious visitors as well.Otto e Sette – An Unrivaled Place to Eat Italian Food in Oita Photo courtesy of Beppu Ropeway (Japanese)You can look down at Beppu’s streets from the observation station at the top of the mountain. There’s also the summer-only night time operating hours where you can see Beppu harbor at night. It’s so beautiful that you will struggle to describe it in words.Find Your Favorite Drink At Kyushu Shochu Hall A local specialty, the steamed pasta here is made using the natural steam that is visible throughout the town. You can eat lunch at the restaurant here without requiring an overnight stay at Yanagiya. By all means, please enjoy the seasonal Italian dishes made with Oita-produced ingredients here whenever you visit Beppu. Sally Garden Inn, Touji Yanagiya View InformationlodgingA Symbol of Beppu’s Hot Spring History – Takegawara Hot Spring The opportunity to feed a lion barely an arm’s length away is especially amazing and something you’ll definitely want to experience over and over again! For only 100 yen you can enjoy a large bath outdoors where the wind will blow gently by you. A point of caution however, only a wash basin will be prepared for you here; you must provide your own towels, shampoo, etc. Takegawara Onsen View InformationspaCheck out the details of the tour organized by TOMODACHI GUIDE here.Let’s Enjoy a Sand Bath too! We’ll lastly introduce you to the African Safari in Usa city, a short walk away from the hot springs areas of Beppu. You can view animals up close in a similar state to those in the wild as well as enjoy a petting zoo corner where you can pet cute animals. This is a hands on type of park that both adults and kids can equally enjoy. Oita prefecture is where you will find the greatest concentration of hot springs with the highest outputs in all of Japan, rightly earning it the nickname “the hot spring prefecture”. Perhaps the most representative of these hot spring towns is Beppu, an extremely popular hot spring resort town among both domestic and international travelers to the Kyushu region.Today we’d like to introduce various other interesting points of Beppu that we experienced!A Recommended Tourist Service in OitaHuber. TOMODACHI GUIDE is a service that matches travelers with local tour guides. These guides will take you to the places we recommend in this article.Read Also:What is TOMODACHI GUIDE?Hell Onsen TourIn a previous article we introduced one unique activity found in Beppu, their famous “Hell tour”. This time we’d like to share with you two other ‘Hells’ that we visited.Kamado Hell – a Heavenly Hell? Beppu, which prides itself on having the largest quantity of hot springs in Japan, has some unique ones too. For example at Beppu Kaihin Sand Bath, you can take a sand bath rather than a hot water bath. After enjoying Beppu Ropeway, please stop by the Kyushu Shochu Hall. Filled with each of Kyushu prefecture’s representative brands and over 300 rare varieties of shochu, Hita Geta is also a store that handles folk crafts. If you are interested in shochu, why not take a look here to find the brand that best suits your tastes? Beppu Ropeway View InformationCheck out the details of the tour organized by TOMODACHI GUIDE here.Spend a Night in Steam-filled Kannawa If you’re going to stay the night in Beppu, how about staying in Kannawa, the town where steam rises up all over? The appeal of this experience is that you can ride on a animal shaped jungle bus and go around the park feeding the animals. After viewing the large animals on the jungle bus, there’s a petting zoo area where you can pet kangaroos, squirrel monkeys, and other small animals. You’ll feel healed after petting the cute small animals. African Safari View InformationparkzooCheck out the details of the tour organized by TOMODACHI GUIDE here.In Conclusion Especially popular among travelers is the attraction where the staff make smoke. In the instance cigarette smoke is blown outwards, the amount of smoke multiplies by several tens of times. It’s a must-see experience. Depending on your overnight plan, you may get the chance to taste unrivaled Italian cooking at Otto e Sette Oita. This restaurant is located in an annex in Yanagiya and the owner/chef is very particular about selecting local products for its dishes. Here’s a Hell that’s a bit different from the others, Oni Mountain Hell. We recommend staying at the Toji Yanagiya in the Kannawa area. Although there aren’t that many rooms in this establishment, each is very different from the others, making it a place you will want to stay at over and over again. How was it? Although Beppu is best known for its hot springs, today we introduced the other appealing points of this charming town. If you plan to travel in Kyushu, please stop by Beppu to enjoy the various delicious foods and fun filled activities found here! You’re bound to discover a new appeal about Beppu and it might even become one of your favorite cities.A Recommended Tour Service in OitaIf you’re not sure what to visit in Japan or if you want to get the most of what you’ll be visiting, we recommend checking out the services of Huber. TOMODACHI GUIDE.The TOMODACHI GUIDE tour guides will introduce to you great places that are known only to the locals, according to what you’d like to do and experience in Japan. They will do the planning for your free of charge! The tour itself requires a fee, but they will be together with you all along, making sure that you have the best time while in Japan, so do consider this service. Kamado Hell is an extremely hot onsen where you can view many different hot springs all in one place. For example, the cobalt blue spring and another where clay bubbles well up from below. Kamado Hell specialties, the hell steamed pudding and hot spring pitan are things you can only enjoy here. Please take the time to try them. Kamado Hell (Kamado Jigoku) View InformationspaCheck out the details of the tour organized by TOMODACHI GUIDE here.A Crocodile-filled Hell – Oni Mountain Hell Photo courtesy of Beppu Ropeway (Japanese)After enjoying the various onsen, why not take in a view that’s recognized worldwide? The Beppu Ropeway is a large ropeway that connects the mountain top of Tsurumidake (1375 m above sea level) to its base. It has a maximum capacity of 101 people. Photo courtesy of Beppu Ropeway (Japanese)Tsurumidake is, of course, breathtaking in the spring cherry blossom and fall leaves periods, but no matter when you go you can enjoy the gorgeous sight of this landscape to the fullest here. This is an unusual hot spring even for the Japanese, and a must for anyone visiting Beppu. You’re bound to feel relaxed as the warm sand covers you up and you gaze out at the ocean, or even close your eyes and rest. After being in the sand bath, you can also head into a regular hot spring afterwards. Beppu Kaihin sand bath View InformationCheck out the details of the tour organized by TOMODACHI GUIDE here.Full of Fun for Adults too! The African Safari In 1923, Japan first started using the heat from hot springs to raise crocodiles as pets. They currently have 70 crocodiles, giving this place the second name: “Crocodile Hell”.Our recommendation is to visit during the crocodiles’ feeding time, held every Wednesday and Saturday. It’s said that you can really appreciate the powerful force of the crocodiles as they jump up to eat their food. Oni Mountain Hell View InformationCheck out the details of the tour organized by TOMODACHI GUIDE here.Scenery to Enjoy at Beppu’s Ropeway Although it is a very laidback, Japanese-style inn, there are rooms with beds rather than futon available, making it an ideal place for guests who are not accustomed to sleeping on the floor to stay at. For those wanting to experience more of Beppu’s history, a visit to the Takegawara hot spring is highly recommended. It’s a public bath so splendid that you might mistake it for a temple or an inn.
Garando is a store specialized in wooden interior items and toys. The objects that they handle are either made by Japanese craftspeople or brought from Germany. This store is operated by Nagai Farm, a local facility that produces rice, vegetables, fruit, and dairy. Their yogurt is very loved by the locals, such as are the mochi (glutinous rice), snacks, jams and sauces produced by this farm. HOSHINOYA Karuizawa – A Relaxing Resort Only An Hour From Tokyo About 400 meters away from HARUNIRE Terrace, connected to it by an alley along the river, is Sonmin Shokudo, the largest dining facility in the Hoshino area. Visitors can enjoy their meals here while gazing at the vibrant green surroundings. Karuizawa Umbrella Sky 2019 – Enjoy The Rainy Season At HARUNIRE Terrace “Harunire” refers to the Japanese elm. The terrace was created on a riverside where Japanese elms grow abundantly. The stores are located on a wooden deck elevated from the ground. It feels as if you were taking a walk amid the trees.The entire terrace is surrounded by greenery and filled with the clear sound of the Yukawa River that flows by the terrace.Read also Picture courtesy of Hoshino ResortsTombo no Yu combines the relaxing effect of hot springs with the brilliant green surroundings to create a space that reinvigorates one’s body and soul.Open-air baths and saunas are available in addition to the indoor baths. Visitors can borrow towels for a small fee. Shampoo, conditioner, body soap, and other amenities are, of course, also available and their use is included in the entrance fee.Do enjoy the blessing of Karuizawa hot springs at this modern, refined onsen facility.Hoshino Onsen Tombo no YuBusiness hours: 10:00 – 23:00 (last admission at 22:00) (the hours may vary depending on the season)Entry fee: Adults 1,300 yen, Children 750 yenA Must-See! Exciting Seasonal Events at HARUNIRE Terrace The most popular product at their HARUNIRE Terrace store is the gelato made each morning using homemade milk. In addition to regular flavors such as chocolate or matcha green tea, they also offer unique flavors such as rice, asparagus, corn, tomato, and Kyoho grape (*1).*1… Please note that some of these flavors are only seasonally available. We tried the matcha and the rice flavored gelato. They were incredibly smooth and delicious. You could feel the richness and natural sweetness of the milk inside. At the same time, the poignancy of the flavor was just right, helping us reappreciate everyday flavors through a new approach.The store also offers juice made with 100% Kyoho grapes produced on the farm.HARVEST NAGAI FARMBusiness hours: 10:00 – 18:00 (the hours may vary depending on the season)5. Izumi-ya Dembei – Take Some Local Sweets as Gifts CERCLE is a casual dining place where you can drop by to pick up hors d’oeuvres and snacks to enjoy outside on the terrace or on the seats inside the store.The owner is a sommelier and can offer advice on how to pair wines with the light deli dishes. They can also recommend a wine for a special occasion. The impressive collection of wines from all around the world shows the love for wine that prompted the owner to open this store. In addition to fresh foods that can be enjoyed in the eat-in space, the shelves of the store are full of products that can be bought as souvenirs or gifts from Karuizawa. From the highly acclaimed Kokage beer to maple syrup, jams, and snacks, they have a great selection of local items.CERCLEBusiness hours: 10:00 – 22:00 (last order 21:00) (the hours may vary depending on the season)3. Maruyama Coffee – Discover the Refined Aroma of Karuizawa Coffee From wooden tableware and cute toys, which were carefully made to be safe playing with, to decorations that would bring the warmth and elegance of natural wood in your home, there are so many beautiful objects to choose from! They bring up heartwarming childhood memories.Original wooden clocks or furniture items like tables and shelves can also be custom-made. If you fell in love with a piece, place your order and you can have it delivered to your home after a few weeks.GarandoBusiness hours: 10:00 – 18:00 (the hours may vary depending on the season)7. Sonmin Shokudo – Taste the Flavors that Are the Pride of Nagano Picture courtesy of Hoshino ResortsA trip to Japan can easily become exhausting as there are so many things to enjoy. Karuizawa is the ideal place to visit for travelers who also wish to relax and unwind during their holidays.HARUNIRE Terrace is a nature-filled area that allows visitors to enjoy the laidback, cozy lifestyle of Karuiwaza locals. How about reenergizing yourself here with fresh air, greenery, and natural food products made with fresh, locally grown ingredients?HARUNIRE Terrace Official Website: http://www.hoshino-area.jp/en Harunire Terrace View InformationWritten by Ramona TaranuSponsored by Hoshino ResortsRead also During your visit to HARUNIRE Terrace, how about enjoying a relaxing hot spring bath at Tombo no Yu? The onsen facility is located next to Sonmin Shokudo.The water here is of the alkaline type, which is less acidic than regular water and is said to have beautifying effects on the skin. The distinctive feature of this Maruyama Coffee store is that they are a book cafe. The space adjacent to the coffee shop is a bookstore where you can enjoy your coffee while browsing through a book that piqued your interest.In regard to the coffee types, how about trying one of the three most popular blends of the store? These are the classic Maruyama Coffee Blend, the Harunire Terrace Blend, which is exclusive to this store, and the Akane Sumire Blend, which is an aromatic, naturally sweet original coffee.Maruyama CoffeeBusiness hours: 8:00 – 20:00 (the hours may vary depending on the season)4. HARVEST NAGAI FARM – Try Delicious Gelato with Surprising Flavors Picture courtesy of Hoshino ResortsHARUNIRE Terrace hosts seasonal events that allow visitors to enjoy the nature and lifestyle of Karuizawa.One of their most popular events is the Karuizawa Umbrella Sky, which is held every year in June, the rainy season in Japan. Colorful umbrellas decorate the terrace, brightening the cloudy sky and creating a beautiful contrast with the vivid green of the surroundings. It’s a great chance to take stunning pictures!In 2019, the Karuizawa Umbrella Sky is held from June 1 until the end of the rainy season (the beginning of July). This year’s event has new additions, such as the Umbrella Garden, which is decorated with umbrellas used as flower pots.HARUNIRE Terrace hosts special events almost every month. There are live concerts by the river on summer evenings or harvest and red foliage festivals in the fall. Do check out these charming seasonal events, too.Read also Picture courtesy of Hoshino ResortsKaruizawa is one of the most loved holiday resorts in Japan. Located at about 1,000 m altitude, it offers cool shade and splendid views in the summer and excellent ski slopes in the winter.Since its opening in 2009 in the Hoshino area, HARUNIRE Terrace has become one of the must-visit destinations in Karuizawa. HARUNIRE Terrace was opened as a place where visitors to Karuizawa could enjoy the laidback pace of the local lifestyle and the rich nature this town is famous for.HOSHINOYA Karuizawa, the city’s iconic accommodation facility, is adjacent to the terrace. Hoshino Resorts KAI Matsumoto – A Refined Stay In The City Of Art And Music Maruyama Coffee is a specialty coffee shop founded in Karuizawa. Their HARUNIRE Terrace store offers around thirty to forty types of coffee all year round.You can either purchase coffee beans to enjoy at home or relax with a freshly brewed cup of coffee on the terrace. Make sure to taste the refreshing smoothies offered by Kokopelli. You can select from three types: the green smoothie (made with Japanese mustard spinach and apples), the yellow smoothie (made with carrots and apples), and the red smoothie (made with tomatoes and apples).The smoothies are made on the spot after you place your order. Because they’re tasty and natural, you’ll feel fully energized after drinking one.KokopelliBusiness hours: 10:00 – 18:00 (the hours may vary depending on the season)2. CERCLE – Fine Food, Wines, and Souvenirs HARUNIRE Terrace – Enjoy the Karuizawa Lifestyle Izumi-ya Dembei is a traditional confectionery store. Their wagashi (Japanese sweets) are made with local natural ingredients. Customers can choose between freshly made sweets and snacks that have a relatively long shelf life. HOSHINOYA Karuizawa – A Relaxing Resort Only An Hour From Tokyo Upper left picture courtesy of Hoshino ResortsThere are sixteen stores within the HARUNIRE Terrace, including shops offering local produce, cafes, dining places, and souvenir shops. We introduce below a selection of stores and activities that we warmly recommend checking out for an unforgettable trip to Karuizawa.1. Kokopelli – Tasty Smoothies and Local Produce Kokopelli is a grocery store run by a local farm. They provide flavorful vegetables and fruit, along with locally made jams, honey, pickles, sauces, and other produce.Their HARUNIRE Terrace store also has a corner with tableware and kitchen accessories. These items are colorful and easy to use, adding fun to the dining experience at home. Karuizawa – Top 10 Spots In The Famous Holiday Resort Near Tokyo The most popular snack made by Izumi-ya Dembei is the Korokoro Kurumi, a round-shaped cookie with a sweet filling made with walnuts and red bean paste. Walnuts are a specialty of Karuizawa.The sweets come in cute craft packages that make them the ideal gift or souvenir from your trip to Nagano.Izumi-ya DembeiBusiness hours: 10:00 – 18:00 (the hours may vary depending on the season)6. Garando – Find a Precious Keepsake from Your Trip Picture courtesy of Hoshino ResortsSonmin Shokudo offers a wide array of Japanese dishes. The menu includes both simple dishes and elaborate set meals.We tried the Shinshu no Irodori Gozen (2,980 yen with tax), a set meal that includes the representative dishes of Nagano (historically called “Shinshu”) in small portions: local soba noodles, which are famous countrywide for their refreshing taste, sashimi, tempura, thin slices of quality beef, vegetables, and miso soup. It was an extremely satisfactory and flavorful food experience.The drink menu includes several types of wines, Japanese sake, and craft beer, a Karuizawa specialty. Soft drinks are, of course, also available.Sonmin ShokudoBusiness hours: 11:00 – 22:00 (last order 21:00) (the hours may vary depending on the season)8. Hoshino Onsen Tombo no Yu – Deeply Relax in a Hot Spring Bath 8 Things to Enjoy at and around HARUNIRE Terrace Access to HARUNIRE TerraceHARUNIRE Terrace can be reached in about 20 minutes by local bus or car from JR Karuizawa Station, a stop on the Shinkansen Hokuriku Line.For detailed information on bus timetables and taxi companies, please refer to this page on the HARUNIRE Terrace official website.The official website also provides a useful map of the Hoshino area with all the stores you can visit at HARUNIRE Terrace.HARUNIRE Terrace – A Must-Visit Spot in Karuizawa
JR Shinagawa Station is one of the stops along the shinkansen (bullet train) line. According to statistics at East Japan Railway Company, as many as 335,661 people get on and off here on any given day. This is one of Japan’s most important train stations.In some ways it’s a waste to only think of Shinagawa Station as the starting point for business or sightseeing, when using the shinkansen or local train during your daily life.Inside the station, there’s also a commercial facility called Ecute Shinagawa, which is owned and operated by the JR East Japan Group. Without even leaving the station area, you can enjoy shopping for all kinds of items including clothes and fashion, food, and miscellaneous goods, to name just a few.Amazing! Just Like a Small Town Inside the StationNow we’ll introduce Ecute Shinagawa. As mentioned previously, every day more than three hundred thousand people get on and off at this station, so naturally there are always many people walking about within the building precincts.For that reason alone, book stores, clothing shops, food and drink establishments, flower shops and many other retailers, all opened here expecting to attract customers, resulting in what could be appropriately called a little town.If you’re a first-timer to Tokyo, coming to a place like Ecute Shinagawa will definitely make you feel the scale and power of a big city.Ecute Shinagawa is a two storey structure. Despite occupying two complete floors, it’s not connected to the train line at all, and is simply a self-contained commercial complex all on its own.Unique and Original Shops GaloreEcute Shinagawa has many original shops that can’t be found outside the station. Take for example, Hatago Isen NmayaThis local product pop up shop was opened by a ryokan (traditional Japanese Inn) located in Niigata prefecture’s Uonuma-gun Yuzawa-machi. The shop carried local food products and locally brewed sake in addition to many other items.Pop up shops like this cannot be found anywhere else, and we’ve been told that some customers even buy a train ticket and make a special trip all the way here, just to buy some of these hard to find products.We also found a unique shop called PAPER WALL. They have a special message for their customers as follows:”This isn’t your home, nor is it your workplace (or school), but even so we’d like you the customer, to think of our shop as the number three place you’d like to stop in at”.Keeping in tune with their message, the shop was selling books and miscellaneous goods that arouse your interest.Also on a regular basis they have special feature displays such as “Scary Stories, and Dreadful and Weird Tales. Mysterious and Strange Summer Novels Fair”, and “Books that Take You on a Journey Fair”, so you can enjoy them anytime that you drop in.And There’s Still More!In addition, there are many other kinds of shops. Of course they have Uniqlo-like major clothing stores as well.Just like other large train stations, the building corridors are lined with shops selling all kinds of food and beverages, but here the number of shops far outnumber other stations. The shops sell a wide variety of food items, so it might be a challenge choosing between all the tasty looking options!Shinagawa – A Shopping Town Inside the StationSo how was that? Since JR Shinagawa plays a role as one of Tokyo’s major train stations, it’s often considered to be a good starting point for sightseeing. But even just window shopping within the station building can be a fun experience.So the next time you’re about to pass through, why not slow down and go for a leisurely stroll and browse through the many interesting shops?InformationEcute ShinagawaAddress: Tokyo, Minato, Takanawa 3 chomeHours : 8:00-22:00Closed: Open every day of the yearWi-Fi Access: Not availableCredit cards: AcceptedOther Languages: Differs from shop to shopInformation in Other languages: Depends on the shopNearest Station: JR Shinagawa StationAccess: Right beside JR Shinagawa StationPhone: 03-3444-8910Website: Ecute Shinagawa (Japanese)For More On the Shinagawa Area:EPSON Aqua Park SHINAGAWA – A Stylish, Urban AquariumARTnSHELTER – A Strikingly Artful Hostel In ShinagawaYogyokuin Temple, Shinagawa: The 5 Buddhas Will Grant Any Wish??Ana Inari Shrine, Shinagawa: Be Guided By Foxes To A Mystical FountainMount Fuji In Tokyo? Take On The Fujizuka Of Shinagawa Shrine!
Toon Town where Mickey’s House and Meet Mickey is located has many spots to take fun photos. In this town where Mickey, Minnie and other characters live, there are funny tricks and gimmicks all over. This is a great place to go around and find your favorite photo spot.2. The Classic Shot in Front of Cinderella’s CastleThe symbol of Tokyo Disneyland is Cinderella’s Fairy Tale Hall. It is a well known photo spot where most likely everyone who visits takes a picture. Go up the stairs and lean over the banister to pose or sit in the area in front of the castle and take a selfie with your smartphone propped on your bag! Get creative to take the best shot.3. Join the Three-Eyed Character, “Little Green Men”The Little Green Men are popular characters from Toy Story. The best spot to take a photo with them is near the cute structure by Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blaster. Why not mingle with them yourself?4. A Photo with “The Other Disney”, The Creator of Many Characters and StoriesThe creator of Disney is Walt Disney. At Tokyo Disneyland, you will be able to find a statue of someone very close to Walt. The statue of Roy O. Disney, his older brother can be found near the entrance to the World Bazaar. He is seated with Minnie Mouse and is found waving with a warm smile.It was originally placed in the Magic Kingdom in Florida, but it was sent to Tokyo on April 15, 2008 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Tokyo Disneyland. You can take a great photo sitting next to him on the bench.Tokyo Disney Sea5. Mount Prometheus in the BackgroundThe recommended spot to capture the perfect shot with the powerful symbol of Disney Sea, Mount Prometheus, is in front of the Mediterranean Harbor Dock. At night, it is also a popular location for photos with a more mature feel.6. Become Woody and JessieA popular attraction in Tokyo Disney Sea is Toy Story Mania. There is a panel in front of this attraction where you can ride Ham and Bulls Eye. Make yourself feel like Woody and Jessie to take a fun looking photo.7. A Great View of Disney Sea from S.S. Columbia At Tokyo Disney Resort, there are many places where you can find character greeting (*1) spots. However, it is very difficult to take photos or even get close to the famous Mickey Mouse.But if you go to “Mickey’s House and Meet Mickey”, you will be guaranteed to get a photo with Mickey! Being able to take a photo with the ever-popular Mickey Mouse would definitely be a memorable shot.*1 Character greeting: The locations and times you can meet and take photos with various Disney characters. Tokyo Disney Resort consists of Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea. Each have their own seven worlds along with Cinderella’s Castle in the center of Disneyland and Mt. Prometheus from DisneySea.Each theme park has its own fun attractions, but they both also have wonderful photo locations scattered around. Why not take this great opportunity to take a perfect picture in these great spots? This time, we will introduce you to some social media perfect photo spots in the Tokyo Disney Resort.Tokyo Disneyland1. A Memorable Photo at “Mickey’s House and Meet Mickey” Photo courtesy of ©DisneyThe luxury ship station in the American Waterfront Area of Tokyo Disney Sea is the S.S. Columbia. This ship is not just a decoration. You can spend a luxurious time here inside the lounge and restaurant.If you step out onto the deck, you can enjoy a wonderful view of Disney Sea. Why not take a shot of this great scenery?Small Tips That Are Good to KnowInside the park, you will also find signs for other recommended photo spots to take pretty pictures. Photos taken at these locations are sure to become very memorable ones.Recommended articlesA Beginner’s Guide To Tokyo DisneylandA Beginner’s Guide To Tokyo DisneySeaEnjoy a Charming Stay at the Tokyo Disney Celebration Hotel!Touring the World of Star Wars at Tokyo Disney Resort10 Itinerary Suggestions For A One-Day Trip From Tokyo Tokyo Disney Resort View Informationamusement_park
Picture courtesy of Pip Co., Ltd.Most muscle stiffness which can occur during your trip can be treated with Pip Elekiban and Magneloop. So, head for the nearest drugstore and purchase these products, which can also make great souvenirs (seen here at Tsuruha Drug Store in Ebisubashi, Osaka).If your parents are bothered by stiffness in their lower back, or your friends have muscle tension due to using digital devices for long hours, show them the Pip products. Pip Elekiban can ease the muscle tension caused by everyday life.Pip Products – The King of DrugstoresThe Pip Elekiban is a famous Japanese product which boasts more than 40 years of history. But how does it actually work? The following is a guide to features of the Pip products made by MATCHA.Magnetic Powers Travelers need to ride buses, trains and airplanes to reach their destinations. After getting off the plane, fatigue can start to set in. Long hours of being stuffed in your seat will restrict blood circulation, resulting in muscle stiffness, which can the start of the trip an unpleasant one. If you feel tension in your lower back, apply four Pip Elekibans on your back, two on each side, with the backbone in the middle. To ease the pain, apply three Pip Elekibans on the soles of your feet. Modern lifestyle tends to cause tension in your neck, shoulders and lower back. The tension pressures the blood vessels, resulting in muscle stiffness. Pip Elekiban uses magnetic force to ease the tension, which results in better blood circulation. The products are chemical-free, which means they are safe to wear for long periods of time.Pip Elekiban Picture courtesy of Pip Co., Ltd.This product was specially designed to ease severe tension in the nape of the neck via a strong magnetic force. Magne Neck is easy to use, as the user just has to wear it on the nape.The Pip Products – Great as Souvenirs! The Traveler’s CompanionDo you have friends or family members who suffer from muscle stiffness? The Pip products will make a perfect souvenir for them, and also work as a great companion during your trip. Buy the Pip products duty-free, and take them home.Official Site: Pip Co., Ltd.Sponsored by Pip Co., Ltd. Avoid placing them on spots that may hurt while walking. Try applying them on the plantar arch instead.Situation No.3 – Carrying Heavy Items Picture courtesy of Pip Co., Ltd.Special Notice: From the end of May 2018, a limited number of Pip Elekiban original smart phone bunker rings will be sold. If you are interested in picking one up, hurry to your nearest drugstore because they will soon be gone!Pip Magneloop EX Picture courtesy of Pip Co., Ltd.Pip Magneloop EX offers a strong magnetic force to ease muscle stiffness. They come in three sizes (45 centimeters/50 centimeters/60 centimeters) and colors (navy blue/rose pink/black).** The 60 centimeter size type are not available in rose pink. The magnetic flux density is the same as Elekiban 130, with a menthol-infused patch. This type is fit for people who prefer a softer touch.All the products mentioned above are gentle on the skin, so they can be applied as long as five days, making them cost-effective as well. The Elekiban should be applied for more than two days. Now that you’re in Japan, you might want to shop for popular items such as electric appliances and cosmetics duty-free. But carrying heavy shopping bags all day can be a serious burden on your shoulders. You may have to rely on digital devices for navigation during your trip. But looking down and overusing your devices may cause neck stiffness too. This is Pip Elekiban 130, a staple product used to ease stiffness.Situation No.2 – Standing in Lines Picture courtesy of Pip Co., Ltd.Pip Magne Neck is a new product which came out on March 12th, 2018. Currently, it can be purchased only in Japan. As of March 30th, 2018, Magne Neck will also be available in pink and black. Wear a Pip Magneloop around your neck, and it will help your blood circulation. The photograph above shows the Pip Magneloop EX, which has a magnetic force of 150 millitesla. There is no need to worry. The Pip Elekiban patches are made from nonwoven fabric which has both elasticity and moisture permeability. The patch will not lose adhesiveness even when it gets wet, and is also gentle on the skin. This kind of unique material is used only on the Pip Elekiban. You can use them throughout your trip, so it is cost-effective as well.Situation No.5 – Stiff Neck These connectors make it easy to put it on and take it off.Situation No.6 – A Souvenir for Your Friends and Family You might wonder what will happen when the Pip Elekiban gets wet. The magnetic flux density is relatively low, so this product is recommended for first-time users.Pip Elekiban 130 Picture courtesy of Pip Co., Ltd.There are four product types: Pip Elekiban 80, Pip Elekiban 130, Pip Elekiban M and Pip Elekiban MAX 200. The number after each product indicates the magnetic flux density. Larger numbers means that the magnetic force is stronger.Pip Elekiban 80 A Great Travel Item You Can Pick Up in JapanDuring your trip in Japan, while moving around in planes and trains, or while carrying heavy luggage, you might start to feel tension in your shoulders and lower back. You might be wondering what you can do to ease this stiffness.Pip Company, with a history dating back 110 years, has the answer. This article is about Pip Elekiban Magneloop, a very efficient item for treating muscle stiffness, and about various situations in which it can be applied. Be sure to read the product information that is also introduced below.Situation No.1 – Getting Off the Plane To lessen the burden, apply three Pip Elekibans on both shoulders. They will gradually start working on your muscles.Situation No.4 – Effective Even When Wet This is the most popular Elekiban, with a moderate magnetic flux density. This type is recommended for those who have to stay seated for long hours.Special Notice: From May 14th, 2018, free samples of Pip Elekiban 130 will be distributed at the Fukuoka Airport JTB counter, located on the first floor of the Domestic Terminal, so don’t miss it.** This campaign is only available while supplies last.Pip Elekiban MAX 200 This type has the strongest magnetic flux density, and uses a large, cone-shaped magnet. It can affect a large area, so it is fit for people with severe stiffness.Pip Elekiban M The 50 centimeter size is popular with both men and women. Those with a slender neckline should use the 45 centimeter size, while the 60 centimeter size is best for those who prefer to wear it loosely. They all have the same magnetic flux density. Magneloop is washable, gentle on the skin, and easy to wear thanks to the simple connectors on the ends. The magnetic force will keep working as long as Magneloop is worn.Pip Magne Neck Picture courtesy of Pip Co., Ltd. You may have to wait in line to try a special Japanese dish, which can result in pain in your shins and instep.
When viewing the cherry blossoms in Japan, you may find yourself wondering about the slight variations in color, size and blooming season of these spring favorites. There are over 20 different subspecies of sakura that bloom in Japan annually. Different locations are well known for having a certain type, or there might only one of a specific tree in a given place – which make these trees stand out. But what about the others?Today, we’ll take a look at the five main types of cherry trees that can be easily spotted once you know what to look for.1. Somei YoshinoPhoto courtesy of: mayfly on FlickrSomei yoshino (Yoshino cherry) are the most common type of sakura in Japan, and indeed are what many people think of right away when they hear the word ‘sakura’. Blooming before their green leaves even appear, these five-petaled cherry blossoms are almost white, having only the vaguest hint of pink to them. The name somei yoshino comes from a village market that existed during the late Edo era, where it is said that these flowers were first sold.2. Yama ZakuraPhoto courtesy of: Hinako Torino on FlickrYama zakura, or mountain cherry, have quite similar flowers to somei yoshino, having five petals and a very subtle pink hue, but unlike somei yoshino, the leaves of the yama zakura appear at the same time.This is one of the oldest species of sakura original to Japan, and it is believed that, when reading ancient Japanese poetry, such as in the Manyoshu, these are the sakura to which the waka (*1) refer.*1 Waka: classical Japanese poem, composed by the nobility.3. Yae ZakuraPhoto courtesy of: yamabuki*** on FlickrYae zakura or double cherry blossoms, are exactly as their name implies: these sakura have between 10 and 50 petals per flower, and come in numerous color variations, ranging from pure whites to vivid pinks. Yae zakura are also known as sato zakura, and are a variant of the Oshima cherry, which grows almost exclusively in the Izu Peninsula.４. Shidare ZakuraPhoto courtesy of: komaroku on FlickrWith its branches drooping downwards like a willow tree, the shidare zakura is rightly known as the weeping cherry tree in English. There are two main types of shidare zakura, those with five petals, which are closely related to the somei yoshino, and those with more than five petals, which are related to the yae zakura. Either variety come in colors ranging from pale to vivid pinks. This cherry blossom also has the distinction of being Kyoto’s prefectural flower.5. GyoikoPhoto courtesy of: e_haya on FlickrGyoiko, which translates to ‘yellow imperial garment cherry blossoms’, are scattered throughout Japan, but many people miss seeing these sakura because of their subtle greenish yellow color. There are anywhere from five to ten layers of petals to each blossom. Because of their modest appearance and lack of calling attention to themselves, some believe that these sakura best represent the character of the Japanese.
Osaka Castle(大阪城) is located in the center of Osaka. I have a random question for you: Who do you think built Osaka Castle? You may think the answer is Hideyoshi Toyotomi (豊臣秀吉) because of its location, but that’s not right. Actually, the stone fences and turrets which still stand today were all built in the Tokugawa period (after the 1620s). During the day, many tourists come to see Osaka Castle, but personally I more prefer the view of the castle in the evening. The castle is lit up everyday after sunset until 23:00. In the evening, you can get a close look at the magnificent castle tower shining in the white light. Not only the tower, but also the gates and turrets are lit up indirectly, making the atmosphere a little more mysterious. Let’s have a walk around these nice places in the evening near the castle.The Shining Castle in the Dark; Loved for Generations Let’s begin with the castle tower. Elevators are now installed in the tower, so of course the tower isn’t considered an untouched structure. Actually the castle tower was reconstructed by the local people of Osaka in 1931. This means “ordinary citizens of Osaka”, like local farmers or owners of flower shops, rebuilt the symbol of their town. It’s a heartwarming story of the people’s love for the castle. You can enjoy beautiful and special illuminations several times a year, for example the tower is lit up with blue on World Autism Awareness Day; with pink on the occasion of Pink ribbon campaigns; and if you’re lucky enough, you can see the castle shining in rainbow colors.”Otemon” the Gate Standing on the Path to the CastleNow let’s go to see “Otemon”, the main gate of Osaka Castle. The castle may look cool, but it was actually a fortress used to keep enemies from easily entering the site of the Castle. When enemies came to invade through Otemon, the soldiers fended off their enemies by shooting arrows from the Senkan turrets. Actually, the Senkan turrets were one of the oldest buildings in Osaka Castle and recognized as an important cultural asset along with the Inui turrets. When I walk through the beautifully lit up Otemon, I felt as if I had become an ancient soldier.The Contrast Between the Silhouette of the Castle and LightNow let’s enter the castle by walking through Otemon. After passing through Otemon, you’ll see Tamon turrets and some holes called “Yariotoshi(槍おとし)” above your head. These holes were used to attack enemies with spears which came out of those holes. Of course, spears do not come out of the holes currently! Instead you can enjoy mysterious silhouettes of trees. The silhouette of the castle is one of the most attractive things of the castle. Especially in the evening, you can see a beautiful contrast between modern buildings standing just outside the site of the castle and traditional structures in the site. Inui turrets used to serve as an arsenal and a lookout point. The group of modern buildings behind the castle is called “business park” and the area is a fashionable district crowded with business people. Finally, let’s drop by Houkoku Temple(豊国神社), located on the south end of Osaka castle. In Houkoku Temple, you’ll find the statue of Hideyoshi Toyotomi(豊臣秀吉) who is loved by local people in Osaka. I was a bit scared because it was already dark outside, but I enjoyed the solemn view of the main building of the temple, the gate, and the statue all lit up. Osaka castle is a quite touristic place, but at the same time it’s relaxing for local people and we can see many people jogging there. The castle in the evening shows the breathtakingly beautiful facade with relaxing atmosphere. Why don’t you walk around the castle with the joggers?InformationPlace: Osaka Castle Park Address: Osaka Castle, Chuoku, Osaka city, Osaka OpeningHours: Always openClosed Days: Always openWiFi: unknownCredit Cards: unavailableLanguage: unknownMenu Language: unknownStation: JR Kanjou Line OsakajokoenStation Access: JR Kanjou Line Morinomiya Station, Osakajokoen Station ／Osaka Municipal Subway Tanimachi Line Tanimachi 4chome Station 1-B Exit, Temmabashi Station 3 Exit ／Osaka Municipal Subway Chuo Line Tanimachi 4chome Station 9 Exit, Morinomiya Station 1 Exit, 3-B Exit ／Osaka Municipal Subway Nagahoritsurumiryokuchi Line Morinomiya Station 3-B Exit, Osaka Business Park Station 1 ExitPrice: unknownReligious Information: unknownPhone: 06-6941-1144 OfficialHP: unavailable
Inmarsat, the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications, has been re-issued the license to operate the complementary ground component of its European Aviation Network (EAN) inflight broadband service in Belgium.An initial license issued by the Belgian Institute for Postal services and Telecommunications (BIPT) was annulled in March this year on procedural grounds, with the Belgium Market Court requiring additional reasoning to support the Belgian regulator’s decision to award the license.Philip Balaam, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “We are delighted that this license has been re-issued by BIPT. The issuance follows a second rigorous consultation process by BIPT that confirms EAN’s complementary ground network complies with all regulatory framework conditions. We remain on track for commercial service launch to passengers later this year.”EAN has been made possible through regulatory innovation in the European Union. It is the world’s first inflight wifi solution that integrates connectivity from a satellite, operated by Inmarsat, and a LTE-evolved ground network, operated by Deutsche Telekom, covering all 28 member states of the European Union, as well as Switzerland and Norway.EAN offers passengers super-fast, low latency inflight internet with unmatched capacity in Europe’s dense airspace.Available for the commercial and business aviation markets, it has been flight proven to meet highly demanding internet use, such as streaming high-definition videos, online gaming and image sharing, with service levels that compare to mobile broadband on the ground.
Oman Air recently celebrated the delivery of its fifth of 30 Boeing 737 MAX 8s on order with the airframer. Keen to learn more about Oman Air’s onboard product, your writer accepted an invitation to fly as a guest of the airline in business class from Delhi to Muscat.Oman Air’s turquoise blue logo represents incense smoke. And on boarding the MAX, one immediately notices that the carrier expresses its identity in other small, but important ways. Cabin crew serve the Omani coffee known as Qahwa from a dallah, which is a traditional Arabic coffee pot with a crescent-shaped beak and a long spout.The aromatic coffee, which is poured into a three-ounce demitasse cup, pleases multiple senses, and is a delectable signature of hospitality in Oman. Dates from Oman are served as an accompaniment on board.I noticed that many guests requested a refill of the cardamom-flavored beverage, as did I. Image: Neelam MathewsUp front, Oman Air has configured the MAX with 12 Rockwell Collins (now Collins Aerospace) Air Rest seats, which feature a cradle-style recline, four-way adjustable headrest, and large 17″ inflight entertainment monitors.Seated in 1D, I easily stored my large handbag under the seat in front of me. The fixed living space feature allowed me to have control of my environment.Collins Aerospace’s Air Rest business class seats are on board the Oman Air 737 MAX 8. The use of tan, cream and brown materials meshes well with Oman Air’s brand. Image: Neelam MatthewsThe adjustable legrest was nice to have, but I did not use it a lot as my seatmate had a tendency to regularly move out of his seat. A pull privacy divider was also appreciated, though on a morning flight it tends to cut off light.Oman Air offers Thales’ AVANT IFE system – dubbed by the airline as “ARIA” – on the MAX. The system was chock-full of content, including Hollywood blockbusters and popular TV shows and games.Though the seats feature individual power and USB ports, inflight connectivity was not on offer. Yet, I must confess I did not regret the lack of connectivity. I was busy trying to find a film to watch as the choices were vast, and featured new releases, classics, and movies in at least ten languages including Arabic, Korean and Hindi. I settled on a short romantic film.The cocktail table I shared with my neighbor offered plenty of room for devices. It was also large enough to accommodate two servings of nuts, a glass of red wine, and my seatmate’s beer can. Image: Neelam MatthewsWith ample Heineken beer on board and two choices of wine – Maison Castel’s Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon – the beverage options seemed just about right for this three-hour flight.The Cabernet, with aromas of blackcurrants and blackberries, paired nicely with a light meal of fish, fresh veggies, hummus, pita bread, and halwa, a traditional sweet dessert.Oman Air celebrates its culture with its onboard menu. Image: Neelam MathewsDown back, the Oman Air MAX aircraft features 150 of Collins Aerospace’s popular Meridian economy class seats, and 10.2″ seatback IFE. But while the large screens, Boeing Sky Interior lighting and spacious overhead bins were wonderful, the galley and lav on board the MAX was severely constricted.This year, an American Airlines pilot vociferously expressed dissatisfaction over the small loo on the MAX, saying it was only 75% the size of the 737-800 lav, as reported by View From The Wing. He called it the “most miserable thing going” and said he couldn’t even turn around in the new lav. Like this pilot, your author found the MAX lav to be quite small, though I could turn around without hitting the door.As a more petite passenger, I used the lav with ease. Image: Neelam MathewsThe galley is really diminutive too, especially when trolleys are pulled out. But like the average Omani, the cabin crew members were hospitable, despite the tight conditions.Oman Air’s business class experience doesn’t stop in-flight. Its new premium lounge at Muscat International Airport features ample private spaces, two dining areas, shower facilities, a children’s play area, a nap room, and free wifi.A buffet presented islands of cheese platters surrounded by both dry fruit and very fresh-cut fruit. The hot food favored an Omani palate, and included saffron rice, mezze and a load of omani bread, chicken, fish and date ice cream.The lounge interior has been influenced by the terrain in Oman and designed to reflect the unspoiled, natural beauty of the desert and the rugged landscape of the mountains. It is spacious and elaborate, and reminded me of sand dunes and luxury.I could well be sitting in an oasis – one that also delivered great views.Editorial Disclosure: Travel for this trip was covered by Oman Air. All opinions and accounts of the service come solely from the author.Related Articles:Can Rockwell Collins deliver beauty to the economy cabin?Thales aims for market segmentation with three IFE systemsIn Conversation: Live inside a flydubai Boeing 737 MAX 8Norwegian changes MAX seat statement; assures most are 17.2″ wideflydubai’s 737 MAX 8 impresses with business class PaxExWill shrinking lavs spell rising fortunes for Indian carriers?Podcast 057: Airline content trends and new lav concepts revealedPress Release: Oman Air Boeing 737 MAXs to fly with Thales AVANT IFEPress Release: Global Eagle and Oman Air renew content services agreementPress Release: Rockwell Collins’ new Air Rest seats launch with Oman Air
Inmarsat, the world leader in global mobile satellite communications, has today announced that it has entered into an agreement with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) to be the first commercial customer to place an order for the new H3 launch vehicle. The maiden flight of H3 is scheduled for 2020 with Inmarsat planning to deploy the new launch vehicle after 2022.This is the second agreement entered by Inmarsat and MHI, following the launch services contract awarded to MHI’s H-IIA Launch Vehicle in 2017. These agreements underline the growing partnership between the two companies in the area of launch services.Rupert Pearce, CEO of Inmarsat, said: “Inmarsat is the world leader in global mobile satellite communications; a position we have achieved by building an exceptional ecosystem of partners. As our company grows – expanding into new markets and opening up new opportunities for our customers to develop their businesses – we continually seek new technology partners that display an outstanding commitment to innovation and excellence.“It was for these reasons that in 2017 we selected MHI as a launch partner and why today we are delighted to be announcing that Inmarsat is the first commercial customer to select MHI’s new H3 launch vehicle. We believe that H3 represents a world-class innovation and one that will deliver an effective and efficient service to place future Inmarsat satellites into orbit.”“Today, development of the H3 Launch Vehicle is proceeding steadily forward under the leadership of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), with MHI serving as primary contractor working closely with key component manufacturers,” said Masahiro Atsumi, Vice President & Senior General Manager for Space Systems at MHI. “We greatly appreciate the high evaluation made by Inmarsat during this development phase and, working closely with JAXA and government agencies, we will do everything possible to ensure that development results in a new flagship launch vehicle fully meeting the customer’s high expectations.”Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd (MHI) H3 launch vehicleRt Hon Greg Clark MP, Secretary of State for Business said: “Science and innovation have no borders, as long-term strategic partnerships like this one built on excellence between Inmarsat in the UK and MHI in Japan demonstrate.“The space sector is a UK success story and an industry that is growing globally, a year since the launch of our modern industrial strategy, we continue to build on our commitment to space, including through the announcement of the UK’s first spaceports and record investment in our world leading science base.”MHI Launch Services enjoys an extremely high success rate of 97.9% and has provided 41 successful consecutive launches since 2005, delivered on-time and to the customer’s satisfaction by current launch vehicle both H-IIA and H-IIB.Masahiro Atsumi (MHI )and Rupert Pearce (Inmarsat)The agreement with Inmarsat reflects MHI’s long-term commitment to supporting a wide range of customers in the space industry. MHI will continue to support the development of the space industry, and will seek further new opportunities in this field both in Japan and globally.About Mitsubishi Heavy Industries GroupMitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI), headquartered in Tokyo, is one of the world’s leading industrial firms with 80,000 group employees and annual consolidated revenues of around 38 billion U.S. dollars. For more than 130 years, the company has channeled big thinking into innovative and integrated solutions that move the world forward. MHI owns a unique business portfolio covering land, sea, sky and even space. MHI delivers innovative and integrated solutions across a wide range of industries from commercial aviation and transportation to power plants and gas turbines, and from machinery and infrastructure to integrated defense and space systems.About InmarsatInmarsat is the world leader in global, mobile satellite communications. It owns and operates the world’s best global portfolio of satellite networks, specifically designed for customer mobility, and holds a multi-layered, global spectrum portfolio, covering L-band, Ka-band and S-band, enabling unparalleled breadth and diversity in the solutions it provides. Inmarsat’s long established global distribution network includes not only the world’s leading channel partners but also its own strong direct retail capabilities, enabling end to end customer service assurance. The company has an unrivalled track record of operating the world’s most reliable global mobile satellite networks, sustaining business and mission critical safety & operational applications for almost 40 years. It is also a major driving force behind technological innovation in mobile satellite communications, sustaining its leadership through a substantial investment and a powerful network of technology and manufacturing partners. Inmarsat operates across a diversified portfolio of sectors with the financial resources to fund its business strategy and holds leading positions in the Maritime, Government and Aviation satcoms markets, operating consistently as a trusted, responsive and high quality partner to its customers across the globe.
Spencer LowellIf you haven’t already, it’s worth the drive to check out another of the Triangle’s latest boutique hotels, the hip and understated 53-room boutique Durham Hotel.No need to stay the night, though. The food’s enough of a draw. Andrea Reusing, the James Beard award-winning chef-owner of Lantern restaurant in Chapel Hill, oversees The Durham’s coffee shop, rooftop raw bar, and American restaurant. Coffee and breakfast – Escazú mochas, matcha green tea lattes, buckwheat oatmeal – are served daily, as are cocktails and evening hors d’oeuvres on the midcentury modern rooftop overlooking downtown. The restaurant serves dinner Monday through Saturday and brunch on Sunday, with a menu that puts a subtle twist on classics: turnip gratin, beef fat french fries, and latkes for brunch.This month, The Durham hosts a pop-up party on the rooftop February 19 with video installations curated by community newspaper The Citizen. That Sunday, a disco brunch features a DJ from the music-and-technology festival Moogfest, punch bowls for the table, and a bloody mary bar. It’s an eclectic and sophisticated roundup befitting the hotel’s namesake city.Pop-Up Party on The Rooftop Bar & Lounge: February 19; 6 – 9 p.m.; freeDJ Disco: February 21; 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.; free admission, with full brunch menu and drinks à la cartethedurham.comSpencer Lowell
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Gemserv use their experience in the public sector to highlight key areas of focus to give your digital transformation initiatives the greatest chance of success, writes Edward Williams, Head of Digital Transformation at Gemserv.In this digital era, the goal of many central and local governments is to be customer focused and deliver the best possible public service. To achieve the widespread transformation required to drive this, it is vital to invest in the necessary capabilities to ensure expenditure is concentrated on the appropriate services and systems aligned to a vision and strategy. It is also critical to identify ways of achieving transformation at an accelerated pace.Gemserv has experience across the public sector spanning over 30 years, helping organisations meet their changing transformational objectives, and delivering the commercial models that underpin them. Our recent work in island jurisdictions, such as the Government of Jersey and the Isle of Man, has overwhelmingly focussed on digital transformation, meeting the expectation from citizens that their public services should be as good as their digital experiences in the private sector. This is the benchmark that the public now expects, or will simply shop elsewhere if they don’t like what is on offer.Drivers for Public Digital ServicesCustomers cannot readily go elsewhere to consume public services, though public servants are subject to rigorous scrutiny and accountability, and the final sanction of the ballot box. Often legislative and regularity change, coupled with challenging budgetary constraints, means that government must increasingly deliver more with less.We met this challenge with the Government of Jersey by delivering services to citizens through digital channels – eGovernment. Gemserv was engaged to establish a Design Authority and apply this capability across government to ensure consistency in the delivery of enhanced services, in line with the vision and strategic direction of Government of Jersey. The aims were to:design services around the user to be better, quicker, simpler;improve efficiency across government;increase transparency, visibility and accessibility of information; andsupport the building of local digital capabilities and the local economy.Prior to our involvement, there was no such Design Authority capability, and neither the mechanisms nor the governance to ensure government services were designed within a common framework, aligned to a strategic direction. This had led to inconsistency in service delivery, in the sharing of information, and to significant duplication of technology solutions.Much of our work delivered the architecture and the governance framework for reducing this complexity, as well as delivering the core digital platform components to manage identity, establish corporate data assets and provide enterprise-wide systems integration to share data between back-office functions and legacy applications.Our experience of this work has also shaped our thinking regarding two key questions government should be asking itself, and the areas of focus that will ensure a successful digital transformation.Focus on strategyWho champions digital change within your organisation? For success, this should be firmly anchored in the C-Suite, and the overarching business strategy for your organisation should be digitally focussed. This is vital, given it is the business strategy which will be shaped directly by the most senior leaders, and will provide an accurate gauge to their commitment. A strategy that points to digital ways of working throughout the organisation, setting digital as the keystone to realising business objectives, provides a much stronger platform than one that focuses only on specific areas of the organisation.We have witnessed first-hand the dramatic effect of moving from a localised digital strategy to one which is driven from the top. A digital strategy anchored firmly within the Information Services department was able to set out the approach for:a modern and collaborative IT office environment and the upskilling of staff to use it;use of Cloud services for core functions and the introduction of innovative technologies; andexclusive use of a digital platform to deliver frontline services to citizens.Each of these laudable, fundamentally technology focussed, aims did not transform government. It was only a change of leadership at the top of government, and the subsequent drive for digital throughout all aspects of the organisation that started to deliver transformation change, focussing on:organisational redesign around the most critical services citizens use;a one-stop-shop for all face-to-face customer services; anda focus on cultural change within government to adopt digital ways of working.The former provided the digital tools, the latter the transformation. With both together, government can become more agile and responsive.The final piece in this jigsaw is your commercial strategy, which also needs to align closely with your digital objectives. We have seen commercial models that have slowed things down, especially where procurements are based around products and solutions.Focus on strengthening and procuring capabilitiesHow do you identify commonality across governments and deliver consistent experiences to customers? Modern governments understand their capabilities, i.e. ‘what’ they do as opposed to ‘how’ they do it, and model them as a means for translating strategy into action. At a very simple level there are large degrees of similarity between different types of organisation (for example customer service, risk management, horizon scanning), all of which are business capabilities. It is not unusual to procure the capabilities you are missing, either embedding them within your organisation, or by outsourcing them.They can also be categorised (Figure 1) which makes them a powerful tool in identifying how to maximise value, reduce risk and increase efficiency. The capabilities that deliver most customer value are those that are most suitable to innovate through digital technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence or Blockchain, or to focus on delivering digitally with a consistent user experience.A predominant feature of digital is cadence, iterating through several small releases, and adopting a “fail fast” approach. It can be difficult to bottom out exactly what the end-state requirements are at the start of a procurement cycle. The procurement approach needs to be adaptable, attuned to an agile delivery, or it can lead to poor value decisions being made or a decision to buy a solution too early. One answer is to focus on procuring capability, such as service design, rather than the more traditional approach of buying a solution.There is often a tendency to focus on the technology aspects of digital transformation. This achieves a degree of digitalisation but no meaningful transformation, buying solutions rather than change. Our experience highlights two areas of focus to ensure you maximise the value of your digital journey, and it is vital that your procurement strategy mirrors these.Fitzwilliam Hall Business CentreFitzwilliam Place, Dublin 2T: +353 (0)1 669 4630E: email@example.com